Brassroot’s Brass Band Bash
This is music that never stands still a moment.
Not sure what to make of brass band music? In New Orleans, where they need no excuse to take to the streets, it’s often played to celebrate life passing, as part of a funeral parade, or smoking up a celebratory fire of the here and now. It’s all about the pulses and rhythms of a street parade- hundreds of people, locals of all ages, and life paths, parading for miles at a time, pressed up against an 8 piece band, feeling every beat. The air gets hot and heavy as the music makes you strut and step. I’ve been in that number and the energy created lingers for days afterwards. This is the energy we’re creating on May 2nd for Brassroot’s Brass Band Bash.
On the bill are a whole host of brass bands, who are challenging the idea of what a brass band is, while innovating and smashing boundaries of what this music can be. Straddling genres and groove, the Brass Funkeys merge hip hop, funk and metal while Brasstermind interpret Fela Kuti followed by Radiohead or The Kinks.
Britain played a crucial role in the brass band evolution, tracing back to military conflicts here in England in the 19th Century when armies used drums and bugles to communicate, evolving to a full-on musical style by Victorian times, then transplanting all over Europe eventually making its way to the US. In New Orleans where things frequently become reimagined and the spice and soul of multiple cultures get blended together, the sound moved away from the formal British style of playing, incorporating African rhythms like those hard in Congo Square (the only place in the US where slaves could congregate and keep their musical heritage alive.) And here we are in 2016, the music winding its way back to London. I’ve seen Blues Kitchen be the heart of many New Orleans flavoured parties, at the helm, keeping the beat alive, Brassroots ooze energy and swagger. Bandleader and one time resident of New Orleans, Jerome Harper says “I want Brassroots to bring the genre to the forefront of music. There’s no reason why we can’t have a brass band in the charts on a regular basis. I want to have helped create the first brass band album to go platinum”
“I also want Brassroots to be looked back on, many years from now as a band that was instrumental in developing the contemporary brass band genre, creating a bridge between brass and pop bands. We’ve got that raw, raucous, energetic flow of a live brass band while incorporating the super tight funk and showmanship of James Brown and Prince all wrapped up in incredible musicianship and groove”
I have history with Brassroots, spinning with them in some far flung corners of London for a host of Olympics gig in the Summer of 2012. I’ll never forget spinning at Brassroot’s first Brass Band Bash with the Soul Rebels headlining in 2013. Their high-octane, infectious energy set the stage ablaze. On the decks I mix up turn of the Century Latin-tinged rhythms with the likes of funk jazz New Orleans veterans, The Dirty Dozen to upcoming hip-hip styles like the TBC Brass. Then there’s Magnetic Ear, mind altering space-age brass. All have one step in the past with blazing horns immersed in a genre-bending affirmative of the present.
Where y’at? Brassroots 5th Annual Brass Band Bash
May 2nd2016, Blues Kitchen, Shoreditch. 6pm-12.
Party like it’s Bank Holiday Monday!